3 REITs That Just Increased Dividends

Investors are always happy to hear that a stock in their portfolio has announced a dividend increase. For income investors, it means a monthly or quarterly raise. For investors who are more concerned with growth, such dividend hikes also portend an increase in future earnings as well.

A dividend increase usually indicates that the board of directors has faith that future earnings can cover the dividend hike comfortably. In addition, a dividend increase often makes the stock more attractive to investors. Share price appreciation often follows dividend increases.

Take a look at three real estate investment trusts (REITs) that have just announced dividend hikes this week. Two of the three have upcoming earnings reports.

Weyerhaeuser Co. (NYSE:WY) is a Seattle-based specialty REIT that owns and operates 11 million acres of timberland, manages 14 million acres of additional timberlands in Canada and manufactures wood products for homebuilding. It was formed in 1990.

On Feb. 9, Weyerhaeuser announced a 5.3% increase in its quarterly dividend from $0.19 to $0.20 per share. The dividend is payable March 22 for shareholders of record on March 8, and the ex-dividend date is March 7.

In addition to this latest announcement, on Jan. 25, Weyerhaeuser also declared a supplemental dividend of $0.14 per share, payable Feb. 27 to shareholders of record at the close of business on Feb. 16. So investors can get a double payout.

The dividend increases came after Weyerhaeuser reported its fourth-quarter operating results on Jan. 25. Non-generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) earnings per share (EPS) of $0.16 per share beat the estimates of $0.14 per share but were well below fourth-quarter 2022 EPS of $0.24 per share. Revenue of $1.77 billion also missed the estimates by $30 million.

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Community Healthcare Trust Inc. (NYSE:CHCT) is a Franklin, Tennessee-based self-managed healthcare REIT that owns 191 properties across 34 states. Its diverse portfolio includes medical office buildings, specialty centers, behavioral facilities and inpatient rehabilitation centers.

On Feb. 9, Community Healthcare announced a small increase in its quarterly dividend from $0.455 to $0.4575 per share. The dividend is payable on March 1 for shareholders of record on Feb. 20, with an ex-dividend date of February 16. With this latest increase, Community Healthcare has now had 34 consecutive quarters of dividend growth.

The forward annual dividend of $1.83 now yields 7.2%. However, the payout ratio is 89.7%, which is high. Investors will be looking at Community Healthcare’s next earnings report, due out on Feb. 13, to see whether this dividend hike is a portend for an increase in funds from operations (FFO).

On Jan. 16, Truist Securities analyst Michael Lewis maintained a Buy rating on Community Healthcare, while lowering the price target from $36 to $35.

CBL & Associates Properties Inc. (NYSE:CBL) is a Chattanooga, Tennessee-based REIT that invests in shopping malls in the Southeastern and Midwestern U.S. CBL has 94 properties, including mall, outlet and lifestyle centers and open-air centers.

On Feb. 8, CBL Properties announced a 6.7% increase in its quarterly dividend from $0.375 to $0.40 per share. The dividend is payable on March 29 for shareholders of record on March 15. The ex-dividend date is March 14.

The forward annual dividend of $1.60 yields 6.8% on its recent closing price of $23.36. The payout ratio is now 25.5%.

Shopping malls have been thriving recently. Simon Property Group Inc. (NYSE:SPG) is another mall REIT that recently reported excellent earnings and raised its dividend.

CBL Properties declared a Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November 2020 and emerged a year later with a $1.7 billion debt reduction. It’s had its share of financial difficulties and a high debt load, but may be turning the corner. It has now raised the dividend 60% from $0.25 in November 2022 to the new $0.40 dividend.

CBL’s next earnings report is scheduled for Feb. 20. Shares have pulled back to oversold levels since reaching $25.28 intraday on Jan. 12, so a good report would likely give the share price a substantial boost.

Weekly REIT Report: REITs are one of the most misunderstood investment options, making it difficult for investors to spot incredible opportunities until it’s too late. Benzinga’s in-house real estate research team has been working hard to identify the greatest opportunities in today’s market, which you can gain access to for free by signing up for the Weekly REIT Report.

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